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Convenience Stores Threaten to Strike If Minimum Wage is Raised
Burning Their Boats
Convenience Stores Threaten to Strike If Minimum Wage is Raised
  • By Jung Suk-yee
  • July 13, 2018, 15:23
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Convenience store owners hold a press conference in Seoul on July 12, explaining how difficult their business can be after an increase in minimum hourly wage.
Convenience store owners hold a press conference in Seoul on July 12, explaining how difficult their business can be after an increase in minimum hourly wage.

Convenience store owners in South Korea has threatened to go on strike if the Minimum Wage Commission raises next year's minimum wage, ignoring their demands that diferent minimum wages be set for different industries.

The association of convenience stores held a press conference to announce their position on the minimum wage. The association has about 10,000 convenience store owners as its members. They are going to decide what to do after checking the result of the plenary meeting of the commission scheduled for July 13. The commission is expected to set next year's minimum wage on July 14.

“We will prepare a strike plan and other measures, including nighttime extra charges, if the commission rejects our demands for a different minimum wage for businesses with less than five employees and sets the minimum wage for next year at an excessively high level for store owners,” said the association.

It added, “If the new higher minimum wage is uniformly applied to all businesses regardless of their sizes and conditions, a large number of owners will have to shut down their stores due to financial difficulties.”
 

The commission voted down industry-specific minimum wages at its 12th plenary meeting on July 10, and the business community has boycotted the following meetings since July 11. At present, the business community is demanding a 0% increase in minimum wage between this year and next year whereas the labor community is calling for a 43.3% increase to 10,790 won per hour.

In the meantime, Deputy Prime Minister Kim Dong-yeon remarked on July 12 that the pace of minimum wage increase needs to be somewhat controlled in view of the current unfavorable employment conditions. There have been criticisms that last year’s rapid minimum wage increase has dealt a staggering blow to the job market, and what he said that day is regarded as the government’s first remark to admit so.